As a resident of Atlanta, where the ratio to reality stars seems comparable to homeowners, it was only a matter of time before reducing yet again the credibility of my city (see also my article on The Sisterhood). While it is true that the stars are not the face of Atlanta, let’s be real. The city has become synonymous with the drama displayed television. So the show for this blog is…Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. And for those upset about making Atlanta look bad, I’m bringing Iowa down with it.
Love and Hip Hop Atlanta is premised on relationships within the music industry. Two cast members, Stevie J and Joseline, are a couple with difficulties maintaining a monogamous relationship while producing music together. Therefore when Stevie J began working with another female artist, Joseline demanded that he cease his partnership with that artist for the sake of their personal and professional relationship. For those convinced that the show is scripted, here is where art imitates life.
Melissa Nelson, a dental assistant, worked for Dr. James Knight and his practice over ten years. While the two communicated outside the office via text, both concede that the communications were neither flirtatious nor sexually motivated. When Dr. Knight’s wife, however, discovered the texts, she demanded her husband fire Ms. Nelson fearing that over time he would get personally attached. After consulting with their pastor, Dr. Knight terminated Ms. Nelson’s employment explaining that while she is an excellent employee, for the interests of their families the two should no longer work together. Ms. Nelson then sued Dr. Knight and his practice under Iowa state law prohibiting gender discrimination in employment. It should be noted that Dr. Knight hired a female to replace Ms. Nelson.
In ruling for Dr. Knight, the Iowa Supreme Court dismissed Ms. Nelson’s argument that but for her gender there would be no relationship. Court provided that such viewpoint would allow challenges to any termination decision related to a consensual relationship, and since “sexual favoritism, where one employee was treated more favorably than members of the opposite sex because of a consensual relationship with the boss, does not violate [employment anti-discrimination laws]…treating an employee unfavorably because of such a relationship does not violate the law either.” Furthermore, in discrimination cases the focus is the employer’s motivation for the employment decision and not whether the decision was fair.
Well if we want a society judging us on merit rather than appearance, then attractive people have rights, right? Several critics seem to think so and the Iowa Supreme Court agreed to review this decision a second time following the outcry. Maybe an episode of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta could sway the judges, or not.